Fashion industry runs on intuition, style and trends. Technology in the fashion industry has long been used to stay in vogue. With data and tools, designers and retailers understand their customers and come up with new ideas, emerging patterns, shapes and styles.
One of the greatest spectacles in the world, Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, which is 700 years old and was built during the Ottoman empire has been the earliest user of big data analysis! Yes, you read it right. When you come across Turkish rug sellers asking you questions like ‘where are you from’ or ‘which hotel are you staying at?’ you might think they’re just trying to be social, which is partly true. But the main motive behind this type of interrogation is to understand the characteristics of the customer.
Your city or your choice of hotel act as strong indicators of your taste and income. The moment a merchant comes to know of your city, hotel and other visible characteristics like your age, clothing etc., he can size you up according to the historical data of similar customers. He’ll then offer you rugs that are most likely to match your tastes and other variables.
This one example has inspired a lot many fashion industries today. One of them is the renowned brand Burberry. It made use of the SAP HANA platform to launch a program Customer 360 wherein a customer can digitally share their experiences. An employee can record the past history of a particular customer’s likes in terms of clothing styles, colors, past purchases and thus a real-time analysis can be run within a store.
The fashion industry is one of the most unpredictable industries in the world. Trends keep on changing by the minute and what is new today may be out of the cool books tomorrow. Also, you need to decide which items inventory is to be held, how much inventory is to be held and pricing of each item. Determining all this may not have been that difficult a task a decade back as it is now.
With social media usage at its peak and the number of likes, followers, pins, tweets offering opinions on each and every type of brand and clothing and style and fabric, it has now become more of a necessity to use big data analysis to keep a tab on changing the mood of the customers. Sentiment analysis will allow an organization to look out on every aspect of customer demand- from the most loved style to the most loved fit.
Moreover, the use of big data can help to create a stress-free and an engaging experience for shoppers who will be presented with products that would be best suited to them based on their purchase history. Big data’s concept can seem wearisome when associated with words like volume, velocity, and variety. But it is the investment part of big data technology which is the real block. Huge investments are required to deploy and integrate different resources, so companies mostly prefer to hire third-party services to generate reports to base their decisions on.
To create a winning blueprint, sales and inventory decisions are very critical. you can measure sales for online channels but for in stores sales, measurement becomes an issue. With big data technologies, you can map, measure and quantify a customer’s in-store experience. So, decisions based on sentiment analysis and data analysis based inventory requirements leads to mostly accurate predictions related to customer demands.
Since the designers, stores, skilled embroiderers, models, pattern makers and artists are the very foundation of the fashion industry, big data cannot completely change the way this industry operates. It is only going to play a significant role in optimizing the entire process. However, it creates an open field of innovation where brands that make an early mark stand out in the market.